GHRA urges dis­ci­plinary ac­tion over leak­ing of nude photo of re­cap­tured pris­oner

Stabroek News - - REGIONAL NEWS - The open­ing lasts for 1 1/2 hours

The leak­ing of a nude photo of re­cap­tured con­vict Mark Roy­den Wil­liams is of grave con­cern and those re­spon­si­ble for it go­ing vi­ral ought to be dis­ci­plined, Pres­i­dent of the Guyana Hu­man Rights As­so­ci­a­tion (GHRA) Mike McCor­mack says.

“The is­sue of how the photo found its way onto so­cial me­dia should not be taken lightly and those re­spon­si­ble should be se­ri­ously dis­ci­plined,” McCor­mack told Stabroek News.

A nude pho­to­graph of Wil­liams, with his hands hand­cuffed and feet shack­led, was posted on Face­book on Tues­day. In the photo, Wil­liams is seen hold­ing a bot­tle of water over his pri­vates. It is un­clear when the pho­to­graph was taken.

McCor­mack told Stabroek News that GHRA has no is­sue with the ex­am­i­na­tion of Wil­liams in his naked state, once it is the stan­dard pro­ce­dure and is done in a suit­able en­vi­ron­ment which would not cause any em­bar­rass­ment.

He stressed that if au­thor­i­ties have to ex­am­ine a pris­oner when he first en­ters the prison en­vi­ron­ment to en­sure the safety of other pris­on­ers and prison of­fi­cials, “there is no dif­fi­culty once it is car­ried out in a re­spect­ful way.”

McCor­mack stated that the strip­ping of Wil­liams, who is a high pro­file pris­oner, ought not to be seen as a vi­o­la­tion.

“Strip­ping is not some­thing we would take is­sue with… If the photo is not rou­tine, it should not have been done un­less there was some spe­cial rea­son,” he stressed.

How­ever, he stressed that GHRA has an is­sue with the photo reach­ing so­cial me­dia. McCor­mack stressed the im­por­tance of those re­spon­si­ble be­ing held ac­count­able for their ac­tions to send a mes­sage that such be­hav­iour is not only wrong but will not be tol­er­ated.

He said that if se­ri­ous dis­ci­plinary ac­tion is not taken, leak­ing of such pho­tos can be­come “rou­tine” and any­one could be­come vul­ner­a­ble.

Act­ing Pris­ons Di­rec­tor Glad­win Sa­muels told Stabroek News on Wed­nes­day night that four sus­pects have been iden­ti­fied.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tion is ac­tive. There are sus­pects. [We are] work­ing to nar­row [them] down,” he said.

Sa­muels made it clear that the pho­to­graph was in­tended for up­dat­ing records per­tain­ing to iden­ti­fi­ca­tion marks. Wil­liams has sev­eral tat­toos.

“That for some strange rea­son was not re­spected, which re­sulted in the out­ward cir­cu­la­tion of the re­stricted photo,” he said.

It was pointed out by ob­servers that the pho­tograph­ing of his body should not re­quire Wil­liams to be in the pose that he was pho­tographed in and the dis­tri­bu­tion of the pho­to­graph is a gross vi­o­la­tion of his rights and of­fend­ing of his dig­nity.

In 2009, a boy tor­tured in a po­lice sta­tion was sim­i­larly pho­tographed, most likely by his tor­tur­ers, and the pho­to­graph was cir­cu­lated.

The po­lice force has also taken is­sue with the leak­ing of the photo, call­ing it un­ac­cept­able.

Guyana Po­lice Force Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer Shivper­saud Bac­chus, in a state­ment hours af­ter the photo ap­peared on Face­book, said even Fri Sat Oct 13, 2017 Oct 14, 2017 11:10 - 12:40 hrs 12:35 - 14:05 hrs

Fri Sat Sun 13/10/17 14/10/17 15/10/17 1-11/ 2 hrs 01:00 hrs 12:00 hrs 13:30 hrs 02:30 hrs 1/ 2 hrs

Mark Roy­den Wil­liams

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